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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spanish: Duero, Portuguese: Douro
The river between Porto (right) and Vila Nova de Gaia (left), facing west
Countries Spain, Portugal
 - location Picos de Urbión, province of Soria, Spain
Mouth Atlantic Ocean
 - location Porto, Portugal
Length 897 km (557 mi)
Discharge for Porto
 - average 714 m3/s (25,215 cu ft/s)
 - max 17,000 m3/s (600,349 cu ft/s)
Discharge elsewhere (average)
 - Pocinho 442 m3/s (15,609 cu ft/s)
The Douro seen from Spot Satellite

The Douro or Duero (Latin: Durius; Spanish: Duero, pronounced [ˈdweɾo]; Portuguese: Douro, [ˈdoɾu]) is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in the province of Soria across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto. Its total length is 897 km, of which only sections on the Portuguese river are navigable by light rivercraft.

The name may have come from the Celtic tribes that inhabited the area before Roman times. (However, although in modern Welsh dwr is 'water' with cognate "dobhar" in Irish, the Celtic root is *dubro- ).

In its Spanish section, the Duero crosses the great Castilian meseta and meanders through five significant provinces of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon: Soria, Burgos, Valladolid, Zamora, and Salamanca, passing through the towns of Soria, Almazán, Aranda de Duero, Tordesillas, and Zamora.

In this region, there are few large tributaries of the Duero. The most important are the Pisuerga, passing through Valladolid, and the Esla, which passes through Zamora. This region, for the most part, is one of semi-arid plains planted with wheat and in some places, especially near Aranda de Duero, in wine grapes, in the Ribera del Duero wine region. Sheep rearing is also still important.

Then, for 112 km, the river forms part of the national border line between Spain and Portugal, in a region of narrow canyons, making it an historical barrier for invasions and a linguistic dividing line. This isolated area has now a protected status: the International Douro Natural Park on the Portuguese side, los Arribes del Duero Natural Park on the Zamoran bank.

Once the Douro enters Portugal, major population centres are less frequent. Except for Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia at the river mouth, the only population centres of any note are Foz do Tua, Pinhão and Peso da Régua. Tributaries are small and flow into canyons to enter the larger river. The most important are the Côa, the Tua, the Sabor, the Corgo, the Tavora, the Paiva, the Tâmega, and the Sousa. None of these small, fast flowing rivers are navigable. The Douro vinhateiro, an area of the Douro Valley in Portugal, has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

These reaches of the Douro have a microclimate allowing for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes that are important for making the famous Port wine. The region around Pinhão and São João da Pesqueira is considered to be the centre of Port wine, with its picturesque quintas or farms clinging on to almost vertical slopes dropping down to the river. Many of these quintas are owned by multinational wine companies and are worth a visit.

Traditionally, the wine was taken down river in flat-bottom boats called rabelos to be stored in barrels in cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto. In the 1950s and 1960s, dams were built along the river ending this river traffic on Spanish and border sections. Now Port wine is transported in tanker trucks.

There are five dams on the Portuguese Douro alone functioning to make the flow of water uniform, generate hydroelectric power, and allow navigation. Ships with maximum length 83 m and width 11.4 m can pass through five locks. The highest one on Carrapatelo dam has a maximum lift 35 meters. Level of Pocinho lake reaches 125 m a.s.l. Recently, a prosperous tourist industry has developed based on river excursions from Porto to points along the Upper Douro valley. Boats pass through the dams by way of locks.

Profile of the Douro river, from source to mouth

In Portugal, the Douro flows through the districts of Bragança, Guarda, Viseu, Vila Real, Aveiro and Porto. Porto is the main hub city in northern Portugal and its historic centre is declared as a UNESCO monumental place.

The railway Linha do Douro connects Porto, Rio Tinto, Ermesinde, Valongo, Paredes, Penafiel, Livração, Marco de Canaveses, Régua, Tua and Pocinho. Pocinho is near the city of Foz Côa, which is close to Vale Arqueológico do Côa, (an Archaeological pre-historic patrimony) another UNESCO Heritage Sight.

Major Spanish riverside towns include Soria, Almazán, Aranda de Duero, Tordesillas, Zamora and major Portuguese towns include Miranda do Douro, Foz Côa, Peso da Régua, Lamego, Vila Nova de Gaia, and Porto.

The most populous cities along the Douro River are Valladolid, Zamora in Spain and Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. The latter two are located at the mouth of the Douro, which is the third largest river in the Iberian Peninsula (the Tagus (or Tejo) river is the largest in the Iberian Peninsula followed by the Ebro).


External links

Coordinates: 46°08′N 6°33′E / 46.133°N 6.55°E / 46.133; 6.55


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Douro is a subregion in Northern Portugal. Historically comprised the Alto Douro (Lamego, Regua, Foz Coa areas) and Douro Litoral (Porto/Oporto metropolitan area).

Get in

Porto/Oporto is the main hub.

Get around

Train to/from Porto and Douro Valley (linha do Douro).

  • Alto Douro
  • Douro Valley
  • Foz Coa(Coa Valley).
  • Douro Litoal: Porto and vicinity.


Porto-Amarante; Porto-Regua; Porto-Povoa de Varzim; Porto-Espinho.Regua-Pocinho; regua Vila Real.

  • carecatour, figueira da foz, [1]. We organize trips throughout Portugal from its center to the northernmost part in "Trás-os-Montes" (where the famous Porto Wine is produced).  edit

Porto monuments

Get out

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DOURO (Span. Duero, Port. Douro, anc. Durius), a river of the Iberian Peninsula. The Douro rises south of the Sierra de la Demanda, in the Pico de Urbion, an isolated mountain mass 73 8 9 ft. high. It describes a wide curve eastwards past Soria, then flows westward across the Castilian table-land, passing south of Valladolid, with Toro and Zamora on its right bank; then from a point 3 m. E. of Paradella to Barca d'Alva it flows south-west and forms the frontier between Spain and Portugal for 65 m. It crosses Portugal in a westerly direction through a narrow and tortuous bed, and enters the Atlantic 3 m. below Oporto at Sao Pao da Foz. The length of the Douro, which is greater than that of any other Iberian river except the Tagus and Guadiana, is probably about 485 m.; but competent authorities differ widely in their estimates, the extremes given being 420 and 507 m. In Spain the Douro receives from the right the rivers Pisuerga, Valderaduey and Esla, and from the left several small streams which drain the Sierra Guadarrama, besides the more important rivers Adaja, Tormes and Yeltes; in Portugal it receives the Agueda, C6a and Paiva from the left, and the Sabor,. Tim and Tamega from the right. The area drained by the Douro and its tributaries is upwards of 37,500 sq. m., and includes the greater part of the vast plateau of Old Castile, between the watersheds of the Cantabrian Mountains, on the north, and the Guadarrama, Gredos, Gata and Estrella ranges, on the south. The lower stream is beset with numerous rapids, called pontos, and is subject to swift and violent inundations. On this account navigation is attended with difficulties and risks between its mouth and Barca d'Alva; but a railway, running for the most part along the right bank, skirts the river during the greater part of its course through Portugal. The mouth of the river is partly blocked by a sandy bar; only ships of light draught can enter, while those of greater burden are accommodated at the harbour of Leixoes, an artificial basin constructed about 3 m. N. On its way through Portugal the Douro traverses the Paiz do Vinho, one of the richest wine-producing territories in the world; large quantities of wine are conveyed to Oporto in sailing boats. The Douro yields an abundance of fish, especially trout, shad and lampreys.

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